Don’t be party to corporate wars, CPI(M) tells government

July 15th, 2008 - 4:50 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Tuesday said the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) should not become a “conciliation office” for warring corporates “openly lobbying” for their interests ahead of the trust vote in parliament July 22. The statement from the party politburo comes a day after Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh amid calls for the imposition of a windfall profit tax (WPT) on private petroleum firms.

“The PMO should not become the conciliation office for warring corporates, however desperate the ruling party may be to retain power,” the statement said.

“The corporate houses are openly in the fray to lobby their interests in the run up to the confidence vote,” it said, adding that a “dangerous precedent” had been set with the prime minister “being asked to personally intervene to mediate between the Ambani brothers”.

Mukesh Ambani also met other senior ministers and bureaucrats in the PMO, company officials said. He also met Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Although there was no official word on Ambani’s back-to-back meetings, informed sources said that he took up the issue of windfall profit tax, saying it lacked the ingredients of “good economics”.

The issue had been first raised by the Left parties and subsequently taken up by Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh in reference to the windfall profits oil companies like Reliance Petroleum were alleged to be making after the rise in global oil prices.

Mukesh has been opposing the bid by Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Communication to buy stakes in South African telecom giant MTN Group.

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